Nico suggested someone should make one of these a while back, and when I threw out the idea in a DLD, it was generally well received (though some warned of impending badness.) Regardless, I felt like it was a worthy endeavor. If you feel I've missed the mark somewhere or want to add something, please do so in the comments. The point of this post is simply to summarize what I feel are the most common issues new users run in to when they begin posting on this site, and for this link to be a helpful go-to when you don't quite have the time to explain in detail a certain subject.
I hope I'm not the first person to welcome you to Athletics Nation. AN, as it is commonly referred to, is a place for people who want to talk about the A's. Many of us here don't have a lot of people outside of the internet to engage in in-depth talk with about the A's(be it because of geographical reasons or something else) so we come here. As a new poster, I'm sure you're eager to jump into the conversations. I assume by coming here that you have a viewpoint that you really want to share with other A's fans, either because you think others need to hear it or because you just want to be around people that share your views.
You should know that Athletics Nation though is a community, and many of us frequent this site on a daily basis. I'd like to use this post as an introductory guide on some commonly held viewpoints by posters here so that you may become more familiar with the folks here. Not everyone that posts here subscribes to these views, but I've personally seen many times when posters come in without said views, and seem perplexed when others don't share their own views. I hope that reading these sections may give you a little insight into the community here. Of course, by no means do you have to share these views (we welcome diversity,) but you should know that doing so may bring a lot of opposition from the community, almost to the point that it may seem like bullying or arguing. I hope you understand that people here are simply here to discuss the A's, and love doing it so much that we often become very passionate in our writing. It's nothing against you as a person, and we earnestly want you to continue discussing the point if you still adamantly disagree or don't understand it. In no particular order, here are a few brick walls I often see new posters run into that you should take the time to understand before you make a post.
1) Commenting, for the most part, is better than posting. We earnestly want new users to come in and share their views on the A's. We want people to become excited about the team, and we believe that discussion helps that a lot. I personally feel that my involvement in this site has made me a more well rounded, intelligent, and passionate fan. That said, if you have a thought, look carefully at the fanpost bar to make sure that the topic isn't already being discussed. There's nothing shameful about leaving your thought as a comment on a post rather than creating an entirely new post. If you think that the A's should give Ryan Sweeney more playing time, make sure there isn't already a similar post, such as "The 2011 Lineup," or "The Outfield Situation" or "Is Conor Jackson really our starting Right Fielder?" Posting something as a comment will be noticed by the community; comments get plenty of attention, and the site really lives through the comments section. I'm not saying don't ever make a fanpost; just make sure it's new content which necessitates an entirely new discussion.
2) We like statistics and references. You don't have to have backup for every thought you make, but the more bold claims should probably have it. If you think that Cliff Pennington looked real ugly at the plate today, then you can make a comment about it, and its fine. If you make a post saying the A's should trade Brett Anderson for Jim Thome, then you should probably ready your post with a lot of backup in order to appease the readers. If your idea has any chance that someone might oppose it, then try to ready yourself for those arguments. If you find similar players to Brett Anderson that started stinking at his age, post those; if you see a pattern in Thome's play that suggests he will be awesome for the next two years, then post it. The fact of the matter is that we appreciate well thought out arguments, even if we disagree with them. You should be ready for people to put as much thought into reading/commenting on your post as you put in. If you post a study with helpful graphics, easy to read data, and personal insight, then it will be well received, commented on, and recommended. If you post a thought without any backup for it, then people may write it off. We don't know you as a person, so we have to judge you by the quality of what you post. The bottom line is that the posters here just want to see effort; if you make effort and show considerable thought into what you post, then you'll have no trouble making friends around here.
3) We want to discuss your topic with you. If you post something as a fanpost, we earnestly want to discuss your thoughts with you in the comments section. Perhaps we disagree with something, or we like something and we want to tell you about it, or we have some suggestions, but regardless of the reason, we just want to talk to you. We all come here for the same reason; to talk about the A's. Posters that engage comments below with care and thought are more likely to be well received. A person who only makes fanposts and never reads the comments/engages the comments is likely to be overlooked in the future, since other users know that this person only wants to say their own views rather than listen to others.
4) Some of us are nitpicky about things, but it's not as a snide against you. If somebody disagrees with a post you make, and posts a statistic that you don't understand to back their point up, they aren't calling you stupid or being elitist. Furthermore, if someone suggests that a little formatting would make your post easier to read, they only do it out of the hope that your post is more well received by the community. Don't take anything personally here, especially criticism towards your ideas, and you'll become more comfortable. We may not agree with your ideas about the A's, but if you're thoughtful and respectful, then we'll all like you as a poster. You don't have to be a professional writer on the site; we just like it when you show you're doing your best.
5) We probably don't want to talk about the Giants, your fantasy team, or any other baseball team unless the topic directly relates to the A's. I live in the peninsula, and just about all my friends are Giants fans. I come to Athletics Nation to talk about the A's with people that have my same passion. If you bring up baseball topics that don't impact the A's (especially in the middle of an A's game or a particularly busy time in the A's sphere,) expect them to be not well received. If you want to talk about the Giants, try this site, run by a great guy named Grant. If you want to talk about your fantasy team, try here. If you do want to talk about such things, try catch all threads, like the DLD (Daily Link Dump,) where it's ok to talk about just about anything (as long as it isn't violating the Community Guidelines.)
6) There are certain issues that some of us are very passionate about, and should only be broached in a fanpost if you have some seriously innovative stuff to bring to the table. These issues have been brought up many times, and will be brought up many times forward, and as a result, some members of this blog have their opinions extremely well researched and thought out ahead of time. If you decide to bring up any of these subjects, be prepared for a wave of opinions both ways, oftentimes with both high level statistical analysis and in-depth scouting reports involved. Be warned that broaching these subjects without clearly organized and well written content may ellicit very negative reactions from the community due to the frequency which the topic is discussed. If you’re not sure if what you’re thinking of is innovative, or if you simply want to ask a question, try asking it in the comments of a similar post first. If the answers you get still don’t satisfy you, then do some more research on your own and make a post about it. By following this process you can be sure that your post will be well received by the community as it is bringing a concise, thought out, and confident view to the community. Here are some examples of such topics:
The above topics, along with others you’ll notice over time, will be rehashed many times throughout the lifecycle of this blog, because people are both excited and frustrated to explain their views again to new people. If you post about such topics, just be ready for a lot of passionate debate which may or may not reach any conclusions.
The main thing you should know is that we appreciate care and effort. Even if you think that Jack Cust is awful, that Billy Beane needs to spend more money, or even if you think Rickey Henderson should be our starting left fielder and leadoff man next year, we just want you to put care into what you write here. We may think your argument is ridiculous and disagree vehemently, but we will notice thought and care. If you have an undeveloped thought or question, post it as a comment in an existing thread rather than a new fanpost. If you're a thoughtful poster who loves the A's, this will show in your writing, and you'll be welcomed into the community. Most of all have fun, and go A's!